"Unlucky in love? Stop beating yourself up -- and think about moving. Maybe to Denver. After all, it is the best city for singles." --Forbes, 7/26/06
Oh, the irony! That I should alter my plans to move from San Francisco (#4) to Austin, TX (#8) to instead join up with Prince Charmless in the Mile High City, apparently, the nation's Number One hotspot for losers . . . er, I mean, singles.
Perhaps that was the Divine's plan all along? Perhaps our tragic love affair was merely a vehicle for something more satisfying - not unlike iceberg lettuce, which provides a healthy front in transporting bleu cheese dressing to one's mouth.
I recall my father's reaction to the demise of my new relationship. Mind you, this was a man who took the train down from Seattle, helped me load the U-Haul, drove it across several states and un-loaded the same U-Haul, all the while patiently listening to me expand dreamily on my adorable future. Calmly toking on his cigar, he said simply: "Yeah, I didn't think that would last too long. He sleeps on plywood – what could he know about settling down? Frankly, I don't care how the hell you got to Denver, I'm just glad you're there." (Dad was not a fan of the Austin plan, it seems.) Good old Dad – he de-dramatized the entire episode in one paternal puff.
So, I have to admit, I am tickled to death to be here. For one thing, Denver is cool without the pressure of being hip. San Francisco always pulsated with the expectation that you would be kicked outside city limits for any of the following transgressions:
• Not wearing enough black
• Not owning or having intimate knowledge of your iPod
• Not having a bevy of dotcom stories detailing bizarre corporate excess
• Not belonging to a band/burlesque troupe
• Not sporting the X quota of tattoos
Because of its unique geography, Denver offers a mix of two worlds – much like Chicago, which combines the big city feel of New York but is filled with down-to-earth Midwesterners, resulting in its own welcoming vibe. Denver is where the Great Plains end and the Rocky Mountains begin so despite what the Arch of St. Louis claims, I believe Denver is the true Gateway to the West. From what I've deduced thus far, Denver feels like a city that works hard and plays even harder – similar to Seattle. Obesity is the crime here and I have yet to see any perpetrators.
One thing is for sure, it is easier to meet people here – everyone is friendly, even when they don't have to be. When I brought my bike into the neighborhood gas station, the manager was very helpful, making sure I knew where the air hose (free, of course) was and how it worked. For God's sake, my bicycle and me - we are the enemy, are we not?
Recently, I stopped to check the air in my bike tires and a carload of teenagers approached me. My LA instincts prepared me for random violence or at the very best, a solid geefing (an old urban tradition – squirting an unsuspecting citizen with a fire extinguisher) but they only stopped to ask, "Is everything okay? Do you need any help?" I was stunned. Here in Denver, apparently, they only have drive-by courtesies.
Between the singles hiking group, the blogging community, Craigslist and my own neighborhood (I've got a crush on my downstairs neighbor, Neil) I've got a veritable buffet of social options. Last night I met up with a fellow for cocktails; tonight I'm attending a play downtown with Sherry; tomorrow, I head to Cheyenne for the Frontier Days "Daddy of 'em All" rodeo with friends Sarah and Liz; Sunday? I can't decide between hiking with the gang, the Bluegrass Festival in Lyons or checking out the guitar gathering at Copper Mountain.
Next week, I meet up with a successful local writer who is going to let me buy him beer so I can pick his nimble brain. Later in the week, I'll swing by the 3 Kings on Broadway to check out a CD release party for the Nancy Drews, fronted by a new friend, James. So you see, I manage to keep busy, all the while practicing chord changes on my fancy Costco gee-tar. Steel strings = ouch.
While I can't confirm the Forbes ranking in absolute just yet, I can say with a lighter heart and tanned shoulders that Denver – for me right now – is definitely where I should be. Which is so handy, since I already signed a lease …